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RoadAhead is a different and clever nav app

One of the joys of writing for TUAW is being able to devote some time to finding apps that are unique and make life easier for our readers. I especially like to find free apps, so here's my latest contribution.

RoadAhead is a free iOS app that looks up highway exits in your travel and lets you know what services are coming up. You can get everything or narrow your search down to categories such as coffee, ATMs, rest areas, or even ice cream and pharmacies. The app will also find service stations and will usually list gas prices so you can compare.

When you are at the exit, you can select your destination on a Google-sourced map. Tap again you'll get transferred to the Google Maps app with your route highlighted. The app also provides a contact phone number for your destination, and where appropriate, reviews from Yelp.

Using preferences, you can tell the app how many exits to look ahead, and how far away from the interstate destinations can be.

On the road the app worked well. I tried using it with several categories and got a lot of information back. My only criticism is that there are a few extra taps I have to make while driving, and I'd rather the app knew when I arrived at the exit and automatically switched to routing mode. As it is, I think you are better off having a passenger operate it.

I think RoadAhead is innovative and useful. For it to work, you must be on an interstate highway. State or country roads won't work. If you want to use it for planning you can choose a highway and see what options there are at various exits. With a bit more automation, I think this app will be something every traveler will want. It's not a substitute for a regular navigation app, but it is a great adjunct for anyone who spends time on the road. The app is US only.

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